Nyandarua leaders want the national Government to hasten degazettement of a section of Ndaragwa Forest to pave the way for urban expansion.
A motion by Ndaragua Central ward representative to have the 320-acre section of forest was approved by the Nyandarua Assembly in September last year and a petition submitted to the Senate. Governor Francis Kimemia reignited the debate during Madaraka Day celebrations at Ndaragwa Stadium when he complained that the delays had affected implementation of donor- and county government-funded upgrade programme.
“Ndaragwa town’s development and expansion is handicapped by inadequate land. To actualise this development goal, the national government is in the process of degazetting the forest within Ndaragwa,” said Mr Kimemia.
To push for the degazettement, the Governor said public participation forums will start this week, where members of the public will be invited to make their contribution and approve a document to be submitted to the National Assembly for necessary legislation.
“In this process, my office is in constant communication with the Presidency to ensure this process is fast-tracked and completed. The town is among other six that should benefit with Sh1.8 billion upgrade programme and the proposed Town Committees in line with the Urban Areas and Cities Act,” he said.
In his Motion, Mr Maitai said the forestland belongs to the category of special lands that due to ecological, cultural, and strategic value, should not be allocated to private individuals unless public interest dictates otherwise.
Mr Maitai said the extension of the forestland into the town has hindered development and expansion of crucial public amenities such as a Ndaragwa Hospital, a police station, Ndaragwa Stadium, public cemetery and Ndaragwa primary school among others.
“The county government has set aside more than Sh10 million for the hospital upgrade, but developments cannot take place since the land where the hospital stands is a gazetted forest land,” he said.
Shamata ward MCA Gitau Njamba said there are other public facilities that do not benefit the community since they are in the gazetted forest land. Among the facilities include fisheries department, adding degazettement will pave the way for construction of sewerage treatment works to serve the sub-county headquarters.
“In 2006, the department of forest acknowledged that the town had outgrown the 10.2 acres and thus there was a need to accommodate the development area,” said the MCA.